UPDATE: Mayor Bill Finch Thursday afternoon announced upwards of $8 million in state funds for two key downtown developments, the reuse of the old Mechanics & Farmers Bank building on Main Street led by real estate investment firm Forstone Capital Development and historic buildings at Main and Golden Hill Street led by Eric Anderson of Urban Green Builders that transformed the old City Trust and Arcade buildings into commercial and housing destinations.
Fletcher-Thompson, a Bridgeport engineering and design firm that moved to Shelton 10 years ago, will be making its comeback to Bridgeport as an anchor tenant in the M&F building scheduled for early 2014. A housing component is also included in this project. Anderson is expected to redevelop the Newfield Building into commercial and residential use.
Funding assistance for the projects Finch announced will come from the State Department of Economic and Community Development through an initiative of Governor Dannel Malloy who today announced funding assistance for affordable housing projects in Bridgeport and several other Connecticut communities. Malloy’s Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and Connecticut Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Eric Chatman attended Malloy’s press conference. The Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) initiative provides gap funding to owners of existing developments or developers proposing new developments that will increase the supply and availability of affordable and/or workforce rental housing.
See list of funding recipients and total project costs here.
News release from Finch:
Joined by developers, community members and downtown stakeholders, Mayor Bill Finch today celebrated the State’s significant commitment to three housing projects in Bridgeport, including two downtown developments–the former Mechanics & Farmers building and the Jayson-Newfield block in Downtown North, along with the South End Community Building Initiative by Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, Inc., (BNT).
Earlier today, Governor Dannel Malloy announced a major commitment to increase the amount of affordable housing by utilizing the Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) initiative to fund 10 affordable housing projects across the state.
“Bridgeport’s focus on quality affordable housing has helped us increase the City’s population for the first time in 60 years. Today’s announcement helps us move forward with projects in our rapidly growing downtown neighborhood and assistance in stabilizing our South End neighborhood,” said Mayor Finch. “I’d like to commend the Governor for his commitment to affordable housing and his commitment to Bridgeport. Thank you to the developers of these projects for believing in Bridgeport. I look forward to welcoming your new tenants to their homes in our City.”
The former Mechanics & Farmers bank on the corner of State and Main Streets, a 52,000 square foot, early 1900s-era bank building, was owned by the City for many years. It was sold to Forstone Capital in 2009, for a planned adaptive reuse and historic renovation. Fletcher Thompson, which was founded in Bridgeport in 1910 and left the city in 2002 to move to Shelton, announced plans in late 2011 to renovate the M&F building and move back to Bridgeport. The architecture/engineering firm will renovate the first floor creating 22,000 square feet of office space, and a 2,300 square foot retail space. The second and third floors of the building will be renovated to create 30 apartments, 12 of which will be affordable. The company will design and oversee the construction of the building and plan to lease space there in early 2014.
The Jayson and Newfield buildings, located on block 912 in the heart of Downtown North, will anchor the redevelopment of that district. The block is bounded by Main, Golden Hill and Middle Streets, and is directly across Main Street from the recently refurbished Golden Hill Apartments. These two historic buildings are slated to include 87 housing units of which 10 will be affordable. Eric Anderson, principal of Urban Green development has plans to rehabilitate the structures on the block into mixed-use buildings with retail on the ground floor and housing units above. These buildings represent the expanding footprint of downtown’s resurgence.
BNT has initiated a comprehensive strategy beginning with acquisition and financing of several parcels on Columbia Street/Columbia Court in the South End of Bridgeport. This block-by-block plan of action will result in community development investment which will revitalize and restore properties and provide much needed safe, affordable housing.
“Today’s announcement rings loud and clear as a vote of confidence in Bridgeport by our partners at the State, and by our region’s business community with Fletcher Thompson’s return home,” said David Kooris, Director of the City’s Office of Planning and Economic Development.
The CHAMP initiative provides gap funding to owners of existing developments, or developers proposing new developments that will increase the supply and availability of affordable and/or workforce rental housing.
CHAMP funding, administered by DECD, will be offered in grants and loans based on project needs. Loans may be offered at a reduced interest rate with extended terms depending upon the outcome of the underwriting process and the project’s capacity to carry debt. The funding is intended to be gap financing and may not exceed $5 million per development.